WELCOME to Nest by Tamara blog

WELCOME to Nest by Tamara blog
Hi- It's Tamara. I'm happy you've stopped by, and since 2010 I've been sharing my passion for interior design, history, art, entertaining, travel & fashion. I am an interior designer, textile designer and writer living and working in New York City and East Hampton, Long Island. My musings have taken me to international design, art, antique and epicurean events and I have lots to share. I'm grateful to have been listed as the #1 top design blog, blogs to watch, top design blogs and named and awarded Rising Star of Design by the IFDA NY industry organization. Please feel free to reach out to our team for an interior design consultation at NestbyTamara.com -Tamara

my bloggy friends and their fabulous holiday recipes they share with Nest by Tamara

welcome to Nest by Tamara's 
recipe trading party, and just in time for Christmas! 

17 Delicious sounding recipes
shared here -- I am excitedto try many of these 
delectible dishes over the next two weeks. This is special 
because I am bringing you secret weapons
from talented design and food bloggers who have graciously shared their favorite Holiday recipe with us!
These are some of my favorite bloggers, all quite different yet they each have great style, an edited eye and some fabulous recipes in their files.  Most everyone has that special something that they know how to whip together, some are handed down by grandmother while others learned along the way in our travels. 

I tear out recipes and keep them in files....good gracious I have thousands of recipes I have never even made, but they wait there hopeful that I'll remember them and try them out.  However, I usually rely on my standbys:  these are my arsenals, the ones I pull out in a pinch and usually during the Holidays. I make these dishes over and over again, perfecting with time.  I am grateful to these stylish bloggers (some of  my favorite ladies in cyberspace) for sharing their secret weapons with us.  Over the past two years that I have authored Nest, I have connected with some amazingly talented folks and here is a glimpse -- my hopes are that my cooking repertoire will grow with having these recipes available with a single click over this holiday.  As I prepare my Christmas dinner, I plan to try many of these recipes (the trifle for my New Year's party, the orange buns for Christmas morning just to name two). 

Please have a Very Merry Christmas, and thank you friends for gracing my blog space with your kindness and joy!   
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
Thank you Lisa from Lisa Porter Collection for sending over this wonderful gift from Kentucky. I plan to make these yummy rolls on Christmas morning
for my little ones to nibble upon while opening their stockings.  Lisa's blog is a wonder to behold!
She brings her Kentucky homespun charm, quick wit, well researched observations and her artistic eye to inspire many of us daily. I love clicking over to see what magic she creates!
Orange Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
¾ cup warm orange juice
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
3 to 3½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Orange Icing:
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
Tip: Use a citrus zester and citrus juicer for fresh zest and freshly squeezed juice. Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
In a large mixing bowl, combine warm orange juice and yeast; stir and let sit until yeast is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Add sugar, egg, melted butter, salt, and orange zest; beat until mixture is smooth. Add 2 cups flour; stir until well mixed. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board; knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time if dough is too sticky.
Place dough in a well greased bowl; turn dough over once to grease the top. Cover bowl with a small kitchen towel and let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.  Prepare one 13x9x2 inch oblong pan; lightly grease the pan with shortening.
Punch dough down then turn onto a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board; knead dough briefly, 4 to 5 times. Roll the dough into an 18 inch by 9 inch rectangle.
using a pastry brush, brush the top of the dough with melted butter to within ½ inch of the edges.
In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar cinnamon mixture evenly over buttered dough to within ½ inch of the edges. Sprinkle with raisins and pecans (optional). Roll-up dough jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch the seams together to seal. Slice dough into 1½ inch pieces and place about ½ inch apart in baking pan.
Cover and let rolls rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake: Bake rolls 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove rolls from oven. Place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool.
Orange Icing:
In a small bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, butter, vanilla, orange zest, and enough orange juice to make a good spreading consistency. Spread icing onto still slightly warm rolls.
Makes 12 rolls
Tip: This recipe takes a little extra time so I always double the batch!
 English Cheer 
from Barbara Mangini of My Dog Eared Pages
Who doesn't love a rich and delicious English Trifle?
Barbara says, 
"I’ve had this recipe for so long it’s on faded fax paper! It was originally published in Gourmet magazine {I’m not sure of the issue date}. I absolutely love English Trifle for a holiday dessert! It’s clean and fresh with an elegant sherry twist."
run...don't walk...over to Barbara's beautifully detailed blog for creative inspirations...you will most certainly add it to your blogroll! 
John Clancy’s English Trifle

Note: Instead of making the Genoise*, I usually shop in Boston’s Italian North End for freshly baked Lady Fingers or my local gourmet food store for Madeleines. Buy enough to roughly equal three layers of a10-inch layer cake.

6 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
2 egg yolks
2 ¼ cups of milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Fillings & Whipped Cream
Fillings & Decorations {fresh raspberries, strawberries, if available}
1 cup of good raspberry preserves
1 cup of dry sherry
1 cup of toasted slivered almonds
2 cups of chilled heavy cream {whipped & flavored with 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar}
To make Genoise
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously butter and flour 10-inch layer cake pan.
2. In saucepan, whisk 6 eggs and 1 cup of sugar over low heat until warm.
3. Pour into large mixing bowl, beat with ½ teaspoon of vanilla at the highest speed of electric mixture, triples in size and runs off the beater in thick ribbons.
4. Add 1/3 cup of flour at a time, sifting evenly over the egg mixture, and then folding in with a large, rubber spatula. Watch carefully for any pockets of dry flour and then fold in.
5. Add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Drizzle over egg mixture and fold in.
6. Pour into prepared pan. Drop pan gently on counter to release any air.
7. Bake on the middle rack of 350° F oven 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake is a light golden brown, shrinks slightly from sides of pan, and springs back when gently touched in center.
8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack.
To make Custard
1. Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and cornstarch in small, heavy saucepan {not aluminum}. Mix well.
2. With a small whisk beat in egg yolks to form a smooth yellow paste.
3. Gradually whisk in milk in thin stream to avoid lumps. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and thickens.
4. Remove from heat, whisk in ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Pour into storage container and place plastic-wrap directly on surface of sauce. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours.
To assemble Trifle
1. Slice the cake in three layers and let them dry out for a few hours. Or slice the
Lady Fingers or Madeleines through the middle to create two layers. Spread the layers with raspberry preserves, and reassemble them, gently pressing layers together. Cut the filled layers into large cubes and place in a deep glass-serving bowl.
2. Sprinkle cubes with half of the sherry, then toss and sprinkle with remaining sherry.
3. Fold in the toasted slivered almonds then the custard.
4. Decorate the top with the whipped cream and strawberries, raspberries, and almonds.
Yields 8 to 10 Servings
from Nest by Tamara's recipe box...
a hearty French Onion Soup 
my family loves French onion soup, and it seems to get better the longer you cook. Over the Holidays when I have family staying with us I make a big pot of onion soup ahead of time, keep in a tightly lidded container in the fridge. This makes for a hearty yet quick lunch and I usually serve with a simple green salad. I originally followed the onion soup from the Silver Palate cookbook (love those ladies) and over time I have adapted it, adding bits here and there. 
Onion Soup Recipe
5 thinly sliced large yellow onions
1 shallot thinly sliced
4 garlic gloves sliced lengthwise
6 cups beef broth (either homemade or store bought)
3/4 Cup dry white wine (a french bordeaux is best)
3TBS butter for browning onions
2 TBS cognac
1 TBS fresh thyme chopped
couple of pinches cracked black pepper
1 loaf of crusty french bread - (slice ahead of time and lay out on cookie sheet brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook until crisp)
1 thick slice of gruyere cheese for each bowl
What you need at home:
individual size oven-proof bowls or mini crock bowls
a good deep pan-- I use a deep cast iron pan
The key to infusing this soup with a deep, rich flavor is to carmelize the onions slowly over time.  Slice the onions thinly and cook on medium heat with the butter stirring often. Keep a watchful eye because they cannot burn but must cook for 30 minutes until a caramel brown. After they reach the right level of dark brown, add the beef broth and thyme and pepper and cook simmering. After 1 hour add the wine and cook on medium heat 30 more minutes. Add pepper to taste.
Add the cognac and cook on high for 10 minutes more with the top off to reduce a bit. You've already made the crisp bread -- pour a ladle of soup with plenty of onions in each bowl, layer the toast and one slice of gruyere. Put on broil on the top shelf of your oven -- but watch closely because this should brown but not burn. Serve with a green mesculin salad and best with a simple vinegarette dressing of white wine, splash of balsamic, fresh herbs and good olive oil.
Meet Banoffe "Danger" Pie
Ban for banana + offee for toffee = Banoffee pie
Mrs. Limestone of the Brooklyn Limestone
shared this straight from her cool, informative blog.
I enjoy following her journeys and makeovers. This easy-to- make and delicious sounding dessert recipe came all the way from another continent!  For complete set of photographs and detailed instructions, head to
Banoffee Danger Pie
"We had a chance encounter with its gooey yumminess in Africa. Luckily the camp manager was nice enough to share the recipe. I've made a few slight adjustments to account for American markets. . If you are like me, you've never heard the term 'banoffee', no less tasted it. Non Americans are roling their eyes now as its nothing new but humor my astonishment - how has this dessert not won us Yankees over?" - Mrs Limestone
•3 bananas
•1 tin of sweetened condensed milk
•2 cups whipping cream
•1 package of digestive biscuits or graham crackers
•1 stick of butter
•1 tsp vanilla
•1 small bar of chocolate
Your first step can be done way ahead of time (at least hours but can be as much as months before). Remove the label on the condensed milk and submerge the unopened can in pot of water. Cover and boil for 2.5 hours. Warning: Be sure to keep the can covered by water at all times!!
After requisite time has passed, take pot off the stove and allow the can to cool. In case you're wondering - you just made magic, er, toffee!  So you're ready with your toffee, its time to do the rest.
To make the crust
 (*You can skip this step entirely by buying a ready made graham cracker crust.)
•Grind up digestive cookies in food processor.
•Melt stick of butter in microwave and pour into crumb mixture.
•Blend until you have a moist sand mixture.
•Smooth wet crumbs into pie plate to make a crust.
•Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.
•Set aside to cool.
To make whipped cream
(*You can skip this step entirely by using cool whip. )
•Whip cold cream and vanilla on high until whipped
•Set aside
Now its time to bring it all together. Cut up bananas into slices and lay into your crust. It doesn't matter how you arrange them really. Just go wild.

Open the toffee can, mix with knife until smooth, pour on bananas.
Spread whipped cream over the whole mess
Grate chocolate on top (optional)
Put in fridge to set for at least 1 hour
So there you have it. Yum in a pan. I dare you not to love it.
a hearty Mulligatawny Soup sent by the illustrious
Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo of ABCDdesign
*recipe adapted from The Big Book of Soups and Stews:
262 Recipes for Serious Comfort Food.
"This Mulligatawny Soup Recipe is all the perfection of cold weather comfort wrapped up in a single bowl. I have broken the recipe down into sections where you’ll find each product in the grocery store. This way, you won’t miss a single ingredient!  This recipe is easily doubled for entertaining. In years past, I have been known to serve it as the first course on Thanksgiving day or with our holiday meals. Serve soup in vintage tea cups – don’t serve full bowls! It is such a hearty soup that it’s sure to spoil your guests appetites if they eat too much of this delectable dish!"  -Amy Dragoo
Stop by Amy's blog -- She always has something creative brewing, while offering many interesting perspectives and capturing artistic endeavors on her exquisitely designed blog!
for sautéing:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 Tablespoon butter
goodies from the produce area:
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup green bell pepper
1/2 chopped, peeled turnip
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander, ground cloves, ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I cut it into cubes, season with salt and pepper and sauté in a little chicken broth – easy as pie!)
1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
extra fixings:
Shredded coconut for topping the soup
For a heartier soup, serve the soup over a mound of steamed rice.
Directions: Note (1) There is a lot of chopping in this recipe, I LOVE to get out my food processor to speed along the process – I promise (mums the word!) I won’t tell a soul that you didn’t stand at the counter chopping each veggie with love. Note (2) This soup always tastes best the second and third day which means it is the perfect dish for entertaining. Make it up a few days before and simply heat up about 20 minutes before your guests arrive! Note (3) If your Honey is anything like mine (and would exist on protein alone if you let him) it doesn’t hurt to add extra chicken breast to this recipe.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the oil and butter together. Add carrot and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and apple. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add curry powder, coriander, cloves, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir it for about one minute. This will ensure that the spices have evenly coated the sautéed veggies. Add stock and bring to a boil.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water. Add to the soup and stir until it thickens. This takes about 2 minutes. Add cooked chicken. Puree beans with 1 cup stock from the soup in your food processor. Add to soup pot and mix well. This will thicken the soup considerably. Reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended.  Ladle into bowl and sprinkle with coconut.
from friend Barbara, Hampton Hostess
a delicious Swedish Meatball Recipe
"Heres my favorite Christmas recipe--I usually make the meatballs morning of -it gives the flavors time to meld and its really yummy served alone or over noodles! I have known Barbara for years and since our little girls enjoyed dress-up tea parties together in Nursery School.  It is so much fun to find her here over at her wonderful blog Hampton Hostess. Barbara offers up poignant features about food, entertaining, interior design and travel and all from her trained interior designer's point of view!" - Barbara Paige 

Swedish Meatballs recipe
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound sweet sausage removed from casing
2 1/2 slices white bread
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 jumbo eggs
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly chopped dill, divided
3 cups of beef broth
2/3 cup heavy cream
1. Tear the bread into small pieces and place into a small mixing bowl with the milk and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Saute onions for 3-4 minutes until soft.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, eggs, bread mixture, seasonings, half the dill and cooled onions. Combine thoroughly and shape into small walnut sized balls.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil in a skilled onmedium low heat. Cook meatballs until golden brown and thoroughly cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
5. Spoon meatballs into cassarole dish.
6. Using the same pan with the meat drippings, decrease the heat to low and add flour, whisking for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.
7. Add the beef broth slowly and wish until the mixture begins to thicken.
8. Add the heavy cream and cook for 1-2 minutes until completely incorporated and thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Spoon gravy over meatballs and garnish with dill.

Lydia from Art Style Guide
sent me over this Beef Brisket recipe, hands down the best she has eaten.
"Marrying into the Jewish tradition, this was one of the first recipes I learned how to make. The coffee adds a layer of dimension while tenderizing the meat.
Lydia is an art industry expert and recently published Art Style Guide, which offers advice on collecting art for both consumers and interior designers.  I featured Lydia on Nest back in October -Lydia is a bundle of energy and knowledge all rolled together and an amazing person - she is also a great source for designers.  Run out and grab her book for the Holidays!  It not only imparts great advice but offers up a fabulously fresh approach and philosophy to collecting art that takes the mystery out of this sometimes daunting process.  -Lydia Kutko
note: for richer, more tender brisket, I recommend letting the meat rest covered in the marinade for at least 2 hours. (step 2)"
Serves 6
 3 pounds beef brisket (thin first-cut)
 Coarse salt and ground pepper
 2 tablespoons canola oil
 1/2 cup freshly brewed black coffee
 1/2 cup ketchup
 1/2 cup chili sauce
 1/2 cup honey
 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
 1 garlic clove, minced
 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season beef brisket with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over high heat, warm oil. Add brisket, fat side down, and cook until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
2. In a small bowl, combine coffee, ketchup, chili sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and soy sauce. Pour over brisket.
3. Cover; bake, flipping halfway through, until meat shreds easily with a fork, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from oven; slice on the bias against the grain. Transfer remaining sauce from Dutch oven to a gravy boat, and serve with brisket.
Marcy Feld of Irwin Feld Design is a busy lady
She's the author of a fun and informative blog as well as owner of a beautiful mid-century furniture and art showroom in Stamford, Connecticut.  Marcy's husband Irwin designed a beautiful fantasy room at the recent Holiday House fundraiser showhouse in Manhattan - a mid-century winter wonderland called Snowy Day!
Apple Cranberry Crisp recipe
4 cups sliced apple 
( mix it up using golden, gala & a 3rd kind)
1 large can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 cans whole cranberry sauce ( I use organic)
2/3 of stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal ( this year I used Bob’s extra thick rolled oats- amazing)
¾ cup brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
Use a low pyrex dish 9 x 13
Peel apple and slice as for pie. Toss it in lemon juice
In Pyrex dish, layer first 3 ingredients with cranberry sauce on top.
Mix dry ingredients for topping. Cut in margarine until mix is crumbly and sprinkle it on top of fruit until all is covered.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45minutesor until it becomes bubbly.
Alice Richardson author of Summer Is A Verb
a fun place of perpetual preppy summering. I love Alice's wit and charm and you just know she is a fun gal by how she finishes her posts with trademark line - "Collars Up!" 
Thanks Alice for this regal Oyster dish which sounds a perfect accompaniment for a cozy New Years Eve cocktail party spent somewhere near a roaring fireplace
Oysters Medford
(as many as your li'l heart desires)
pint (or more if you're lucky) of Chincoteague oysters
sliced, organic bacon
block of well aged white cheddar
clean, reserved oyster shells
Cook bacon slices til just done. Transfer to paper towel lined plates for draining and slight cooling. Preheat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil and cover with the oyster shells, face up. Place an oyster in each shell topping with a pinched off inch or 2 of the bacon. Finish with a butter slice sized piece of the white cheddar. Place baking sheet on top shelf of oven. Broil, watching veeery closely, til just bubbly. Serve immediately with a flute of très chilled Champers. Personal preference being Veuve Clicquot Rosé. Bottoms up! Referring to the oysters, natch...
A Yummy dessert of Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce sent by friend  Anne Lubner you can see the detailed recipe on her blog this month at
Anne is a professional interior designer, and in addition to penning this informative blog, she runs a full service interior design firm in Florida.  I spent a fun-filled afternoon in New York City with Anne last spring touring antique shops.  We ended our tour at my favorite shop Treillage.  Anne wrote a great post about our adventure on her blog! 
 Anne wrote:  "Food is an important part of the holidays in our home. My family loves the bread pudding I make for Christmas. I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years and according to my family, it’s now perfection. I use organic milk and eggs – it makes a difference!" - Anne Lubner
Anne’s Bread Pudding
• 4 Cups Milk, preferably whole
• 5 Eggs
• 1 Cup Sugar
• 1 tsp Vanilla
• 3 tsp Cinnamon plus more for sprinkling
• 1/2 tsp Salt
• 1/2 pkg Baking Raisins
• One day old large loaf French or Italian bread
• 3 TB Butter
Whisk Milk, Eggs, Sugar, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Salt in a large bowl. Cut bread into 1-2” cubes. Add raisins and bread cubes to mixture and stir to combine. It will look juicy, but resist the urge to add more bread cubes. Pour into a large buttered casserole dish that has a cover. Sprinkle with cinnamon, dot with butter and cover. Place covered casserole dish in pan filled with 2” hot water. Bake about 1 hour at 325, pudding is done when knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Serve warm with bourbon sauce or fresh whipped cream.
Bourbon Sauce
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3 TB Whipping Cream
2 TB Bourbon Whiskey
Pinch Salt
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Simmer until thickened, whisking often, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly and serve. Yields about 1/2 Cup. 

Marcy Michaud from PinecreekCottage
sent this baked oyster recipe over
I enjoy the cozy feeling over at Pine Creek Cottage and Marcy warmly captures much beauty in the home and garden while injecting her professional perspective.

"We have a dish that is made only for the dinner on Christmas Eve. It is called Scalloped Oysters and it was made by my grandmother and then by my mother, and now I make it each year. I love continuing this tradition and look forward to this meal each year. We often serve it with ham, Waldorf Salad, rolls and a vegetable" - Marcy Michaud
Marcy's Scalloped Oysters
1/2 pint (or 1 can) oysters and liquid
cracker crumbs (like Saltines)
salt & pepper (to taste)0
1 pint milk
Preheat over to 450 degrees.
In a greased shallow baking dish, place a thin layer of cracker crumbs, followed by a layer of half of the oysters and salt & pepper. Follow with an additional layer of cracker crumbs, then the remaining oysters and salt & pepper. Top off with cracker crumbs. Add the oyster liquid and enough milk to make the mixture moist. (Add more milk during baking if necessary to keep moist.) Put 3 pats of butter on top.
Bake for 30 - 45 minutes.
 this French Apple Tart
recipe was sent all the way fom Canada
by Juliane of Norbridge Antiques
Juliane is a cyber angel as she enthusiastically cheers on others.  Since the very first day I posted, she has been there supporting my efforts - it is easy to see her wonderful spirit coming through in her tweets and blog posts! 
Thanks Juliane for this French Apple Tart and it is one of my favorite desserts, now I will have this recipe at my fingertips to try out.  Head over to Norbridge blog for thorough antique expertise and great advice
Peel, core and quarter 8 cooking apples. Put them in a saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 5 tablespoons butter; and cook over low heat, covered tightly until they are tender. Press them through a fine sieve, and let the purée cool.
Roll out rich tart pastry and with it line an 8-9 inch fluted French tart pan that has a removeable bottom. Fill it almost to the rim with the apple purée.
Peel, core and slice 4 small cooking apples and arreange the slices over the puree in an overlapping spiral, starting at the centre and working out. Sprinkle the apple slices with sugar and bake the tart in 400 degree F oven (near the bottom) for 25 to 30 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden.
Cool the tart slightly and remove from pan. Glaze the tart with apricot jam, sieved and thinned with a little hot water.

Rich Tart Pastry:
Mound 2 cups flour on a pastry board, make a well in the centre, and in it put 1 stick or 1/2 cup butter cut into small pieces, 1/4 cup vegetable shortening cut into small pieces, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 egg yolks, and 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind. Mix the ingredients until they are blended and gradually work in the flour. Chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling. The dough can also be made with in a food processor.
+Note - this is an old Gourmet Magazine recipe that I have modified a little.

A sophisticated recipe to keep in your files!
You can whip this one together fairly easily
while hosting a special gathering -
donated from my chic friend 
from friend, Maybelline Te 
This is one of May's favorite "go to" Holiday recipes. 
She is not only a fabulous blogger (stop over to the amazing froulala), but also the brains behind a unique line of furniture, Snug
Elegant Caviar Pie
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
8 hard boiled eggs, chopped fairly fine
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 cups sour cream
2 8 oz of your favorite caviar
Chives and parsley
Pam cooking spray
Drain the chopped onions on a paper towel. Coat with cooking spray the
sides and bottom of an 8" springform pan. In a bowl, combine chopped
eggs and mayonnaise. Spread in the bottom of the prepared pan in an
even layer. Sprinkle with onion.
Beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Drop by
spoonfuls over the onion. Spread gently with a wet table knife or spatula
to make a smooth layer. Cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, drain jar of caviar and distribute over cream cheese
layer. Run a knife around sides of pan to looses and lift off sides.
Garnish top with minced chives, dill or parsley. Surround the base with
parsley sprigs. Serve with small pieces of pumpernickel or crackers.
+Note: Use inexpensive caviar in this recipe like Salmon, Whitefish, or Lumpfish.
 A Sleigh filled with Holiday Cheer,
with the focus on the little ones
from Boston blog duo 
Becky and Deb of Livinglivelier
This cheerful blog is updated regularly with many design inspirations, and offers helpful advice and tips

"When I think of the holidays, I think of the kids and how magical this time of year is. I am hoping it lasts a long time, but sadly know at some point my kids will learn the "secret" of Santa and a bit of the magic will dim. The other thing I think of is Christmas Cookies. I have always been a cookie baker (Christmas or otherwise) and love the process as well as the outcome!"  - Becky

giant copper cookie cutters grandmother's cookie cutters collected through the years

Becky's Sugar Cookies:
3/4 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt
2-3/4 cups Flour
Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Chill for an hour or until firm. Roll out the dough, cut, decorate and bake! (NOTE: if the dough is too wet and sticking like mad to everything, add more flour!)

Roll the dough:
Cut the cookies:
Decorate your little darlings:
Let them cool on the pan before trying to scoop them - always the hardest part!
ashley leckey schoenith from IceMilk Aprons
sent over a black walnut cookie recipe 
"I have been holiday baking all weekend and I truly *love* all the extracts - like the black walnut, rose, etc that heirloom recipes use that we just don't see every day anymore" - Ashley
Ashley brings her viewers much recipe love. I discovered this heirloom sharing site, where Ashley showcases other talented cooks, offering up their family heirloom recipes handwritten on cards -- I'm smitten. Ashley generously shares her black walnut cookie recipe with us.  She also sells these lovely aprons!
This is another one of Nana’s. When I look at each new recipe it’s almost like a scavenger hunt and today I found something lost in time! Honestly, my favorite one to date is Rose extract – mmmm what a romantic and wonderful taste to consider for your next batch of cookies. - Ashley

Cristin Brisbee Priest at Simplified Bee
sent me over this festive side dish, and to sweeten the deal
she added a helpful decorating tip for the season
Are you in need of design and organizing advice?
Check out Cristin's detailed blog on the subject
"For a holiday dinner {formal or casual}, wrapping napkins with tree ornaments is a fun way to bring color, texture and sparkle to your table. Select a size-appropriate multi-colored ornament to pull the color scheme togther or a solid color ornament as an accent. Ornaments don't all have to be the same either; Have a theme like birds, nutcrakers or woodland animals. Adding a fun decorative tag with the guests name to double as place cards. The ornment will also make the perfect gift!" Cristin Brisbee Priest 
thanks to www.realsimple.com for this cranberry relish photograph
Willamina's Cranberry Relish
2 cups raw cranberries
1 apple
1 orange
1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar (to taste)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Grind raw cranberries, unpeeled apple and orange through food grinder. Add sugar & lemon juice and let stand at least one hour. May be frozen. Serve as a side with turkey, ham or roast beef. I usually double the recipe!
Thanks for stopping by and please let us know when you try these recipes!